Innokenty Annensky
Konstantin Nikolaevich Batyushkov
Sven Birkerts
S. B. Easwaran
Peter France
Alexandra Fraser
Mikhail Lermontov
Hernán Neira
Tanyo Ravicz
Peter Robertson

Issue 17 Guest Artist:
Susana Wald

President: Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Vice-President: Elena Poniatowska
Deputy Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
Deputy Editor: Geraldine Maxwell
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

Consulting Editors
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Frank Ankersmit
Rosemary Ashton
Reza Aslan
Leonard Barkan
Michael Barry
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Mario Biagioli
Jean Boase-Beier
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boullossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Sampurna Chattarji
Sarah Churchwell
Hollis Clayson
Sally Cline
Marcelo Cohen
Kristina Cordero
Drucilla Cornell
Junot Díaz
André Dombrowski
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Klaus Ebner
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Orlando Figes
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Nancy Fraser
Maureen Freely
Michael Fried
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Lydia Goehr
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Lawrence Grossberg
Edith Grossman
Elizabeth Grosz
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
François Hartog
Siobhan Harvey
Molly Haskell
Selina Hastings
Valerie Henitiuk
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
Kapka Kassabova
John Kelly
Martin Kern
Mimi Khalvati
Joseph Koerner
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Mabel Lee
Linda Leith
Suzanne Jill Levine
Lydia Liu
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Laurie Maguire
Willy Maley
Alberto Manguel
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Marina Mayoral
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Edie Meidav
Jack Miles
Toril Moi
Susana Moore
Laura Mulvey
Azar Nafisi
Paschalis Nikolaou
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Molly Peacock
Pascale Petit
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
François Rigolot
Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Élisabeth Roudinesco
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
Mimi Sheller
Elaine Showalter
Penelope Shuttle
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Julian Stallabrass
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
Rebecca Swift
Susan Tiberghien
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marjorie Trusted
Lidia Vianu
Victor Vitanza
Marina Warner
David Wellbery
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Assistant Editor: Sara Besserman
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Three Poems by S. B. Easwaran


Sea Widow
for G.C.

Burying a compass for her dead captain,
she begins a lop-sided life at the edge
of a fishing village: stops smoking out
the truant boys, stays upstairs,
swings in slow circles all day,
bed to window, window to bed.

Her doleful gardener, henna in his hair,
has feathers for fingers, famed across
his many milespans. Fathers and mothers,
lovers, rogues — they all bring him
girls to cure on her kitchen floor.

She dreads the slivered screams at night —
sentinels scurrying into her sleep, spearheads
glinting in the sweep of the lighthouse beam.

She dreads him growing richer by gold rings,
but keeps him for his fog-riding roses
that come flooding in over the salt wind.


he always writes longhand
word by word a steady pull
the slow and soft
advance of seepage
dusk to dark to dawn
or a bulldozer one-eye blind
pulsing home at night
and he tries to remember
what he had started to say
changing as he writes it
changing as words each one
fashions itself fastens itself
words with subaqueous thrills
and silent terrors and every
time he is startled by
what he has drawn out
longer thicker more vicious
than he has grasped before —
then the sting of whiplash as
hissing it shoots to a new star

Mombasa Diamond
for Ammamai

Acid can easily eat a lock away
and let any thief in, my aunt told me
as we sat in the dusk at her doorway,
striped Brahmin white-and-ochre.

But the real way up, she said,
the way out of this earthly cycle,
is the unforced way: thread-end
through the needle’s eye,
a Buddha trick of attention
and clear sight or the clean ecstasy
of a bhakti glide.

Half-lit in the flickering
of the oil lamps in their hands,
the Narayana chanters slid by,
slipped into the temple gate.

We knew them all in the dark
by their gait and singsong,
just as we knew each faceless beggar
by his bowl and call.

I waited for her to reach the part
about lotus leaves unwetted by water,
and asked her again,
and again she told me
how she knew about acid:

her husband returning home one day
from his lab at the British factory,
hands in bandages,
cursing aqua regia and the gloves of flame
that would never come off all his life.

And in a twist of paper in his pocket
all that remained of his wedding ring —
just the diamond her father had brought from Mombasa,
intact, and now sparkling upon her nose-pin.